After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.
After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.
Riding across Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager's day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart.
The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.
Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game's perspective.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
When Kiri (Sir Ian Holm) and his assistant operate on Allegra's (Jennifer Jason Leigh) pod, Kiri says, "Köszönöm, köszönöm, köszönöm", Hungarian for "Thank you, thank you, thank you." See more »
When Pikul is extracting the tooth from Allegra's shoulder, the sleeve of her top is rolled down. In the next shot after it comes out, her shoulder is covered again, but Pikul's hand resting on it hasn't moved. (There are deliberate costume discontinuities in this movie, when the characters shift in and out of eXistenZ, but this isn't one of them.) See more »
eXistenZ. Written like this. One word. Small 'E', capital 'X', capital 'Z'. 'eXistenZ'. It's new, it's from Antenna Research, and it's here... right now.
See more »
After his almost disastrous "Crash", Cronenberg returns to more familiar terrain with "eXistenZ". After "Videodrome" and "Naked Lunch", this is now his third movie featuring different levels of reality which gradually mix with each other until at the end, you don't know any more what reality is. Nowadays, you cannot say any more that this is a novel concept and, in addition, "eXistenZ" is much tamer, much more mainstream, and much weaker than "Naked Lunch" and, especially, Cronenberg's masterpiece "Videodrome". There simply isn't anything new which Cronenberg has to add to the subject.
Moreover, the fact that the movie deals with computer gaming is misleading. First, the subject was probably chosen to attract a new audience (which isn't familiar with his previous movies). Second, Cronenberg's visions aren't very much based on what modern computer gaming really is, except, maybe, for adventure games. In Cronenberg's movie, the computer game allows you to enter another reality which, however, looks very much like the reality you know, except that there seem to be other rules. Modern computer gaming, in turn, has already created a new reality which differs in its very characteristics from the world we know. This world is aggressive, fast paced, and the player as individual is reduced to its capability of reacting as fast as possible (this aspect is indeed captured much more appropriately in the - much weaker movie - "The Matrix"). Thus, Cronenberg's movie is more a surrealist dream than a serious discussion of the dangers of computer gaming. Of course, this is prefectly legal. The game console is a means of changing into another reality, just like the drugs were in "Naked Lunch" and video tapes were in "Videodrome". At other times, the console appears more like a sexual fetish.
"eXistenZ" has some interesting and remarkable scenes such as the whole part in the "Trout Farm" and the Chinese restaurant, but there are also involuntarily ridicolous scenes such as the character being stuck in a game loop. Overall, the images which Cronenberg chooses do not have the strength and impact of his older movies: The central element, the organic console, just looks like what it is: a piece of rubber. It is directly hooked up to the spinal chord, an unpleasant idea, but how much more impressive was the scene when James Woods inserted the video tape into his own stomach in "Videodrome".
All in all, "eXistenZ" is another trip into the weird world of David Cronenberg but into the more civilized regions which doesn't give you many surprises.
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